March 12, 2008

What Ritter Heard At The Governor's Conference

It is instructive to read what Bill Ritter was told at the national governor's conference about nuclear power as a source of green energy. Here is what he heard from three time Pulitzer prize winner Tom Friedman:

I would say a couple of things, Governor. One is, I just came back a couple of weeks ago from the Hague. I was at Royal Dutch Shell. They have an energy scenario team, probably the best in the world.

It's really instructive when you sit down with them. They do a global chart basically of all power generation in the world, breaking down every kind of fuel. And it's kind of interesting. You kind of go down the list. You start with coal, and natural gas, nuclear, whatnot, and you get to wind. Wind, for total global energy generation according to the Shell Scenario Team, is one-tenth of one percent today. Solar doesn't make the list.

On a global basis, it's so small they can't pick it up. And this gets back to the Governor of West Virginia's point. I mean, between now and when we get to that clean fuel future, there are only two ways to fill it in a cleaner way. That is, some kind of cleaner coal and nuclear. At scale, I don't see any other way. So I am personally, I don't want to say a fan, but I have absolutely no problem with it. I weigh the balance of climate change and nuclear, and I think it comes out very much in favor of nuclear. And I think, to answer the points that Jeff has rightly raised, I think the government is going to have to build some of these plants and assume all the risk, at least the first ones, before you're going to get CEOs to bet half their market cap on building on nuclear plant that could be stopped at any point.
But Bill Ritter simply wasn't listening. Here, according to Mike Saccone of the Grand Junction Sentinel is the message he brought back:

[ Bill ] Ritter said he and the other governors who attended the most recent National Governors Association conference in Washington did discuss nuclear power, but did not include it in their near-term vision for cutting national carbon emissions.

When it comes to green energy, we have a bunch of dreamers, not doers, as governors, and Bill Ritter is one of them.

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